Dates: 23rd Dec, 2022 to 1st Jan, 2023
My plan was to hike Tadiandamol Peak (highest point in Coorg) and also enjoy the New Year vibe in Goa, but I was worried that I could not do the trip because my Harley needed repair; I had been waiting for the parts to arrive for 2-3 months. Finally the parts arrived 2 days before the trip, making the trip possible.
Road Trip: Starting from Bangalore early morning on December 23rd, finally ending up in Kutta for Safari. Two days were spent in Coorg and later another day in Udupi and the final 5 days in Goa. On the 9th day I was back in Bangalore. The road from Medikeri to Goa is amazing except around 15 kms near Puttur where there was big construction project. For folks who know how to ride winding roads, 275 Rd from Madikeri to Mangalore is an amazing section to lean into the angles. Also you can have take rest breaks and enjoy coconut water and sugar cane juice in between. The return journey, from Goa to Bangalore took 9 hours going via Hubbali, and the section from Goa to Londa to Dharwad is nice and the winding road goes through the forest area, a treat for bike riders. The highway is also pretty cool all the way to Bangalore.
First Day, Nagarhole National Park: My vacation journey from Bangalore began around 5AM and took me to Nagarhole forest area via Hunsur by 8AM. Unfortunately the Forest Department does not allow motorcycles to go through the forest, as elephants used to attack the bikers, so it was necesssary to take a roundabout route through villages to Kutta and stay there, which took an additional hour. The Safari is full, and because of the mass of tourists the animals were shy and did not reveal themselves that much in our safari route. Spotted many deer, a few elephants, wild boars and some monkeys. Nevertheless it's relaxing after a long day ride.
Second Day, Tadiandamol Hike, Coorg: Sun came out around 6AM in Kutta and I headed toward Coorg around 6:30AM, reaching the Tadiandamol Forest Checkpost by 9AM. Unfortunately there was some rough sections of road and up to the check post the road was really bad so I had to park the Harley in the village house where they graciously allowed me to park, and then I hiked 1 km to the check post. From the check post to the peak it was around 4 km with moderate difficulty level. Not that many visitors cared to walk, so it was nice to be alone. The views were also good, and I spend 30 mins at the peak and headed down. Overall it took me 3 hours to do the hike. At night I stayed near the forest camp cottage. Surprisingly none of the other hikers stayed at the cottage and so I lost my chance of catching up with the other humans.
Third day, Udupi stay: Another early at 6:30AM from Coorg to Udupi. The only reason I stayed in Udupi is because Goa is too far from Coorg. This is supposed to be a vacation so didn't want to stress myself with too much riding. However, Udupi did not disappoint me as you can visit the famous Shri Krishna Matt. Also the beach is nice; generally tourists also visit Malpai beach, however, I could not do it as I took 3 hours nap :). There is a long queue to enter the temple and so I had to wait for an hour to just to stare through a window of the Lord Krishna for few seconds :(. Just as good was chatting with the fellow bhakths for that hour.
In the evening went to the beach and relaxed there, I particularly liked the fish stalls where they are frying huge fish as snacks for the beach lovers, yummy :).
Fourth Day, The Palolem Beach, Goa: Started early morning as usual to reach Goa and on the way stopped for Murudeshwar Temple which is on the beach. The gopura structure is almost vertical and of clean design; it seems very new. Adjacent is a huge Lord Shiva murthy which is also very appealing to watch. One can also take the elevator from to the top of the gopura to see the top view of the beach. Since the queue was big I decided not to do that though, and headed directly to Goa instead.
In Goa I stayed at Bhakthi Kutir, Palolem beach which is very nice, having both dorms and separate rooms for visitors. The setup was like a jungle and an amazingly relaxing place. You can relax and watch monkeys jumping from one tree to another. I would definitely recommend to stay here as its just 200 ms from the beach. The beach is very nice and calm, fewer tourists, warm water and a good walk in the morning. You will see lot of shacks on the beach for food and drinks facing the beach. Also one can walk around the neighbourhood to purchase some cool summer shirts and pants, which i did for my friends and myself :). These clothes are very similar to the one I bought in Phuket, Thailand. I stayed 3 days here basking under the sun on the beach twice a day. One of those days I discovered the local Thoddi, also called Sur, made of Coconut tree sap which is amazing. Early morning I rode my Harley to a location in a remote village and got 3 liters of thoddi. It was amazing to drink at the Khutir, and also fun to share with fellow tourists while staring at monkeys jumping on the trees; just an amazing feeling.
Even though this is my first personal vacation to Goa, earlier I had visited Goa on a company visit and went to Butterfly Beach. During that time it was way less crowded but this time it was swarming with too many people as you can see in the pictures.
Dawn at Palolem beach.
Seventh Day, Anjuna Beach: After 3 days of calmness and enjoying on the beach I wanted to see all the crazy stuff of North Goa. Originally I had thought of going to Arambol, but folks at Bhakti Khutir mentioned that there is a Sunburn Music Festival in Anjuna beach at the hilltop. As all the resorts, hotels, hostels and homestay were booked and everything is super expensive I was lucky to find a decent villa. I took some rest and and then went for Sunburn Festival at night. The place is full of people and some good music. Apparently at this time there were not lot of foreigners because of restrictions from the Indian government to shut the party by 10PM. Anyway I had a blast enjoying the music.
Eighth day, New Year Eve, 31st, December: There was time to enjoy some local food, and then at night I went to see the music scene on the beach. Again good music at various shacks and bars, and at the midnight the hour sky was lit with lots of fireworks and lamps. It was an amazing view to accompany a few drinks and enjoy the lights and music.
Ninth day, Jan 1st: I started the trip around 7AM and took the route of ghat road section of Londa towards Dharwad. It was great road to ride as it was winding. I reached Bangalore at 4:30PM so in total did a 612 kms in 9 hours. Met my good old friend Hawala near our favourite coffee place Ainmane, Indiranagar and later in the evening ended the day with some workout.
Overall I really enjoyed the trip and definitely intend to visit Goa again and enjoy the full 3 days of the Sunburn Music festival on the next trip.